Yogiji, it’s ok if you don’t sweep litter at Taj Mahal, first clean communal mindset of BJP
Lucknow, Oct 26: Forget Wah Taj! Chant Wah Yogi!
After the marvellous 'political stunt' staged by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath at the Taj Mahal in Agra on Thursday, spectators were confused whether to look longingly at the beauty of the 17th-century Mughal monument or to shake their heads in disbelief at what they had just witnessed .
Days after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including Adityanath himself, indulged in a sustained campaign to malign India's top most tourist site, the UP CM decided to land in an otherwise spick-and-span Taj Mahal and held a broom in his hands to mastermind a "fake" cleanliness drive before announcing a slew of developmental projects related to the mausoleum.
It is the same "monument of love" against which several of his BJP leaders and ministers made provocative statements, including denouncing it as "a blot on the Indian culture".
The VIP tourist accompanied by dozens of officials and police commandos wore yellow gloves, a white cap and an anti-pollution mask to sweep litter at the west gate of the Taj Mahal along with 500 BJP members.
Over 14,000 policemen were deployed across Agra for the security of Adityanath. In fact, Adityanath is the first BJP CM of UP to visit the monument.
Probably, the Taj Mahal has never witnessed so much "fuss" around it since Shah Jahan built the monument for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. Thanks to Adityanath's regime in UP, the Taj Mahal is hogging the limelight not for its beauty or history, but for unfortunate communal fight over its legacy and importance.
After being made the CM, he had skipped the Taj Mahal when he visited Agra in May. In June, he said that miniature replicas of the monument, offered often as gifts to foreign dignitaries, were inappropriate offerings because they are not representative of the Indian heritage.
The Taj Mahal's controversial tryst with Adityanath does not end here. His decision to visit the Taj Mahal was announced after a series of controversies erupted, beginning with a UP tourism department booklet not mentioning the monument in its list of development projects in the state.
Subsequently, BJP MLA Sangeet Som called the Taj Mahal a "blot on the Indian history" and BJP MP Vinay Katiyar said it was originally a Shiva temple.
In order to quell the surging controversy surrounding the monument, Adityanath at a rally in Gorakhpur recently called the Taj Mahal the "pride of India" and referred to it as a "world class monument". He added that it had been built with "the sweat and blood" of Indians.
This was a significant departure from his remarks at a rally in Bihar last year, when he had said that the Taj Mahal does not represent Indian culture and that visiting foreign dignitaries should be presented with the Gita rather than replicas of the Taj Mahal.
As a part of his Taj Mahal visit, the UP CM spent close to 30 minutes at the graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal before proceeding to visit the nearby Shah Jahan park.
Adityanath, who allocated Rs 370 crore for development projects related to the mausoleum, also laid the foundation stone for a tourist pathway connecting the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort.
During his day-long visit to the mausoleum, Adityanath attended a show, 'Mohabbat: The Taj', at the cultural auditorium. In the afternoon, when Adityanath addressed a public meeting, he reiterated his previous remarks on the Taj Mahal.
"It doesn't matter who built the monument, it was built by the blood and sweat of Indians," the UP CM said. He added, "Many objected to me visiting Agra."
The priest-turned-politician Adityanath was right when he stated that his political opponents opposed his Taj Mahal tour. The criticism of the opponents has a valid reason too.
After a host of BJP leaders tried to communally divide the Hindus and Muslims by attacking the Taj Mahal, Adityanath's visit to the 'wonder of the world' looked "farce".
Yogi's predecessor Akhilesh Yadav mocked him for taking a U-turn on the Taj Mahal issue. "See how time changes...BJP did not consider it as heritage...and now the CM is cleaning west gate of the Taj Mahal with a 'jhadu' (broom)," Yadav told reporters in Lucknow.
"It's good that Samajwadi Party (SP) workers from Agra have come here, otherwise they would have used broom at west gate of Taj. He (CM) is wielding broom there. We have nothing to do with it. It is Lord Rama's 'kamaal'," he said.
Tourists from all over the world visit the monument, he observed. "I am waiting for him to get clicked on that seat (in front of the Taj Mahal)," he said.
The SP president had visited the monument as the UP CM over two years ago on Valentine's Day and sat on one of the benches in front of the monument along with his wife and Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav.
Adityanath's latest antic in the Taj Mahal comes close on the heels of another drama he orchestrated in the temple town of Ayodhya during Diwali celebrations recently. In Ayodhya, considered to be the birthplace of Hindu god Lord Ram, the UP CM ensured 'fake' Ram and Sita took part in religious ceremonies.
If the UP CM had shown similar devotion towards "development", the state too could have got rid of deaths of children and soaring crime graph.